The New Titans: Fragments, Chapter 6: Resurrection Day

by Libbylawrence and Doc Quantum

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Dick Grayson stood mutely by Mother Mayhem as she addressed the congregation of the Church of Blood in her role as the chosen apostle of Brother Blood. “Today is a day of triumph as we grow stronger,” trumpeted the de facto cult leader, “as we await the glorious Resurrection Day of Brother Blood!”

On the other side of Mother Mayhem sat the captive Arella, whose daughter Raven smiled demurely and blissfully as her white gown blew in the breeze.

Dick’s impassive face hid a mind that worked at top speed. He had resisted all of the Church of Blood’s programming and mental attacks, although to those around him he now appeared to be the perfect new convert. His earlier attempt to speak with Azrael had only mixed results, but he had given a lot of thought to their conversation since then. He had hoped that a night to think it over would move the winged alien to change sides, and he was pleased that Azrael did appear uneasy this day, whereas before he had appeared satisfied with his role at the Church. Something now troubled him, and Dick knew he had gotten through to him.

Mother Mayhem placed one hand on Raven’s head as she waved her other hand toward her flock. “Now, allow Brother Blood to feel your love as he suffers for your sins in the land of the dead!” she shouted. “Allow him to commune with your emotions as the day of his great resurrection approaches!” As Dick watched Mother Mayhem rile up the worshippers with raw emotion, he guessed that Brother Blood, hidden away somewhere nearby until his Resurrection Day, must now be feeding upon it like the emotional vampire he truly was.

As well-timed music played in the background, the congregation began to shout their leader’s name in a frenzy of emotion: “Blood! Blood! Blood! Blood! Blood! Blood! Blood! Blood!”

Dick saw the empath Raven stiffen, and he recognized that Brother Blood, through Mother Mayhem, was likely using her to tap into the feelings of his flock at this very moment. He had to do something quickly before the moment of opportunity could pass.

Stepping forward slightly, he managed to catch Azrael’s eye. The winged man, who also had some empathic ability, could feel the powerful emotions surging from the worshippers.

“Lilith,” mouthed Dick simply as he exchanged glances with the alien.

Turning momentarily, Mother Mayhem caught this exchange and moved forward to put a stop to it, even as Raven was too deeply entranced in the parasitic act to see it herself.

With a quick spin, Dick kicked Mayhem flat, then called out, “Raven — fight him! Brother Blood is worse than Trigon!”

Taking flight, Azrael approached him and cried, “What should I do?”

“Save her!” cried Dick. “For Lilith! Reverse the empathic flow!”

“But — but how?!” cried Azrael.

“Brother Blood himself is behind this, because he never really died!” said Dick. “He must be nearby, hidden away somewhere and growing more powerful through worship! He can’t show himself yet, or he’ll break the illusion of his planned ‘resurrection’ on live TV!”

Frowning uncertainly, Azrael soared into the air and began flying around. It was true that he was highly empathic, though not nearly as much as Raven. In the short time that he’d been on Earth, which was all that he could recall of his existence, he had been burdened by powerful emotion that had driven his every action. It was almost overwhelming at times.

That burden, Dick Grayson knew, could be a blessing if properly channeled. Refocusing Azrael on his love for Lilith had managed to break the spell that Mother Mayhem had instilled in him, and now the space angel’s only thought was to stop Brother Blood before he could hurt Lilith, no matter how irrational a fear that might be at this moment.

Azrael used that fear to help him track Brother Blood now. The cult leader had been using Raven as a focus to feed upon the emotional worship of his flock, and had hidden himself in close proximity in order to maximize its benefits.

Mother Mayhem had explained the plan to Azrael already, even though he now knew that she had lied about Blood’s death a year ago. She had told him he would be a golden angel of life who would be instrumental in bringing Brother Blood back from the dead after all this time, and that the miracle he would perform would be seen on a television broadcast all across the world. The Church of Blood would grow larger and more influential than ever before. The winged alien was never sure how he would be able to accomplish such a thing, but then he wasn’t supposed to question it, either. Blind faith was all he had needed.

Now, with his love for Lilith guiding him and clearing his mind, Azrael was sure that he could find Brother Blood no matter where he was on the island of Zandia, and end this farce before it could go on any longer. He had no more time to waste, because he believed with all his heart that Lilith was out there somewhere, and that he had to find her.

Swooping through the maze-like corridors and catacombs beneath the Church of Blood, Azrael managed to evade all security forces and church members alike, as if someone was arranging things for his free passage.


In the main security room, a man with light red hair was at work diverting security teams away from Azrael’s path. Two other men sat in nearby chairs, bleeding from gunshot wounds.

“No one upstages the Children of the Sun with a false resurrection,” the man muttered to himself, even as sweat poured down his brow. “Operation: Rebirth will not be overshadowed.”

The red-haired guard had joined the Church of Blood some time ago for just such a moment as this, just as his brothers and sisters all over the world had infiltrated other organizations, and he didn’t expect to escape Zandia alive. He had already secretly thwarted the Confessor’s attempts to hypnotize Dick Grayson, knowing he would be a useful tool to stop this rival, and had known the young man was only feigning sleep when he revealed how Blood had been controlling him over the past year. He had even arranged for Azrael to be left alone long enough for Grayson to take the opportunity to plant a seed of rebellion in the winged alien’s heart. The red-haired man could not allow Brother Blood to receive the kind of worship that only his mother deserved.

“All for the glory of Thia,” he assured himself. “For the glory of Thia.”


After a few more false leads, Azrael finally burst into an inner room lit only by candles where the prone form of Brother Blood himself lay as if dead. This was the so-called “Land of the Dead” where Blood now lay.

But Brother Blood was not dead as the world had believed. In fact, Blood’s bizarre, almost vampiric ability to absorb the powerful emotions of his worshippers combined with Raven’s own power had put him in such an ecstasy that he remained completely oblivious to Azrael’s entrance even now.

If Azrael still retained any illusions about Brother Blood being a god, they were utterly shattered now. This was a man — one with strange abilities, true — but a mere man nonetheless. And Blood would continue to abuse his followers for his own personal power unless someone stopped him.

Frowning in resolve, Azrael suddenly grabbed Blood and flew his powerful feathered wings back into the corridor, but he decided to take a more direct route back to the sanctuary before Brother Blood could come to his senses. That wouldn’t be difficult, because it turned out that Blood had been kept close by in a room located just beneath the sanctuary where he could best absorb his worshippers’ emotions.

Smashing through a trap door on the stage with his full weight behind him, shattering the door itself and breaking the hinges, Azrael burst up into the sanctuary once more where all of Blood’s followers were still worshipping him, and began to concentrate his own empathic abilities.

Raven gasped in shock as the surge of emotions she had been absorbing and transferring to Blood now gained a strange new texture, with the alien interjecting his own desperate emotions in order to awaken her from the cult leader’s sway.

“Raven!” cried Dick as he smacked a guard off the balcony. “Turn that darkness within you against Blood!”

As Raven’s expressions turned to pain, Azrael glanced at Dick Grayson and shouted, “I think I’m reaching her!”

“Kill them before they release her!” cried Brother Blood, who had now been broken out of his own stupor.

As the sound of his harsh voice carried over the huge church sanctuary, his worshippers realized that the very object of their worship was in their midst. The results were mixed. Some exulted in this miraculous resurrection, while others were confused at its untimeliness, knowing that Blood’s planned Resurrection Day had not yet come. Only a small number of them were shocked out of their own illusions, and realized that Brother Blood had not truly died at all.

Amidst the tumult of the huge crowd, guards shouted and closed in as Dick Grayson tried to wage two wars, one against the troops on a physical level, and one more dangerous and tenuous as he fought alongside Azrael to free Raven’s troubled mind and soul.

At once it happened.

Raven saw that Brother Blood was alive, and a confused surge of emotions overwhelmed her. In moments she realized that she had been under a spell. She had been tricked. And everything that she had come to believe over these past few months had been nothing but lies.

In an uncontrollable rage, Raven’s soul-self grew larger and enveloped Brother Blood, and he screamed. She gasped in pain herself, perhaps even in relief, as the remnants of darkness left behind when Trigon had fallen now flowed directly into Blood himself.

The leader of the Church of Blood now found himself overcome by a power stronger than his own. Yet his own purpose, his own sense of self, refused to allow any easy transfer. This led to a conflict most powerful, most personal — all within Brother Blood’s own mind. He screamed, and as two wills fought, his body finally shut down as if in self-protection as he fell into a comatose state.

Raven ran into Dick’s arms as troops rushed to aid their stricken ruler, whose planned Resurrection Day had been spoiled beyond all repair. “Richard, I… I feel as though I am finally completely free of all taints from… my heritage. I know my father fell already, but such malice still darkened my spirit till now. Perhaps… perhaps I will never be a pawn of anyone again.”

Dick smiled. “Blood could not handle his own urges and drives when he joined himself to the darkness left behind by Trigon. They seemed to short each other out, so to speak.”

Carrying Arella in his arms, the winged Azrael swooped above to lift all three to freedom. “I may help you escape, but… I still grieve for the loss of Blood,” said the alien haltingly. “His potential may never be known again.”

“Or his evil,” muttered a relieved Dick.


Doctor Light was nervous. He hated to be rushed; he considered that beneath his dignity. Yet these enigmatic Children of the Sun seemed to expect him to work on a timetable of their own devising. The nerve. The raw impudence. Still, he did as he was told.

After having used as pawns the Children of the Light, who then hired the assassin Cheshire to kill him, he had learned not to anger even those villains whom he considered his lessers. Just look at what had happened to that arrogant Psimon. (*)

[(*) Editor’s note: See “Death at the Dawn of Time,” Crisis on Infinite Earths #10 (January, 1986).]

“I have completed the machine,” he finally announced. “It should draw upon the ever-regenerating promethium energy source provided by Mento and hopefully allow your Thia to re-form herself materially after having been consumed in flames with her angry husband some time ago.” (*)

[(*) Editor’s note: See “Crystal Nightmare,” The New Teen Titans v2 #9 (June, 1985).]

The reddish-blond man smiled. “Excellent, excellent. Now, if we can pull Mento away from our youthful captive, the Flash, we may begin Operation: Rebirth.”

Doctor Light smiled calmly. “And then I shall leave this wretched rocky pile for better grounds.”

Mento gazed directly at the bound Flash. “You represent all I hate,” he roared menacingly. “You are the embodiment of the successful super-hero, something I never was. You are the personification of the survivor who beats all odds, something my beloved Rita was not. And so, I’ll delve into your mind and raze its shallow barriers to ashes!”

The Flash groaned as he felt his very thoughts rebel against him. From darkness to light to lightning, he saw his life play out in vivid mental images that resonated in a lurid 3-D format. At the heart of them all, he saw two people: his Aunt Iris and her husband Barry Allen, the original Flash.

As nightmarish images of a harsh and alternately distant father switched with those of grinning rogues in costumes bright and garish, he sought the comfort of Barry’s steady, guiding hand.

Yet it remained just out of reach, seconds in front of him — beyond his rate of speed.


Elsewhere, a clean-shaven and fully costumed Nightwing sat across from Raven in a rented European villa as Arella was in the bathroom having a shower. Azrael had dropped off the three at a safe place well outside Zandia’s reach, then said his quick farewells as he left in search of his lost love, Lilith.

Dick Grayson turned off the television. The Resurrection Day of Brother Blood, which had been planned as a massive three-day worldwide media event to begin only days from now, had been called off abruptly. The Church of Blood, which had so masterfully manipulated the media in the past, had gone into full damage control as its mouthpiece Bethany Snow of WUBS tried feebly to explain that Brother Blood had come back to life earlier than expected, but that interference by outside interlopers in his Resurrection Day had caused him to fall into a coma. Unfortunately, all of the footage of his so-called resurrection had been lost. Dick smiled, knowing the Church of Blood might never recover from this humiliation, no matter how many spin doctors in the media were put to work on the problem.

A chagrined Raven expressed her great appreciation for his rescue efforts. “Richard, I want to thank you for risking so much to save me after all I’ve been through… and for all I’ve put you and my mother through,” she said. “I sense you have suffered much yourself since last we were together.”

Dick Grayson smiled sadly. “I can’t keep secrets from you, can I? It’s true that things have fallen apart for me lately. Kory and I seemed to be so much of a sure thing, even though all logic, all past experience, our backgrounds — all combined to indicate that we were wrong for one another. Now, the political demands of Tamaran have forced her to marry another. A guy named Karras is her new husband. She — and he — claim it’s just a civil or ceremonial ritual signifying nothing spiritual, but that’s not the way I see it. So, we’re apart.”

Raven touched his chin. “You and the Princess have ever been of two worlds, both literally and figuratively. How one raised — much like myself — to always keep his emotions in check could ever be the soul-mate of a being who is driven by heedless emotion and passion is a riddle not even the Batman could solve.”

Dick nodded. “It’s true. She’s nothing like the girls I knew at Hudson University or elsewhere. She’s such a free spirit — more so than even other super-heroines I’ve met, like Batgirl or… Bat-Girl.” He stood up. “I’ve learned a lot in the last few days. Maybe part of that lesson is how to let go.”

Raven smiled sympathetically. “That has to be a part of any healing.”

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